Can I still recover under workers compensation if I work as an independent contractor?
by Nick Wearne, Associate Attorney
Snow, Carpio & Weekley
In Arizona, independent contractors are not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation benefits are reserved for employees. However, determining whether someone is an independent contractor vs. an employee is not as easy or as clear as it may seem.
Just because you are labeled as an independent contractor does not necessarily mean you are one for workers’ compensation purposes. In Arizona, there two tests that the court applies in order to determine if a worker is an independent contractor or an employee: 1) The Control Test, and 2) The Nature of Work Test. Sometimes the court will apply one over the other, other times they will mix the two together.
The Control Test:
When applying the ‘Control Test’ the court looks at a variety of factors in order to determine who had the right to control the worker. If the factors tend to show that a company controlled a worker then he/she is an employee regardless of how the company labels him/her. The factors the court looks at include duration of employment, the method of payment, the right to hire and fire, who furnishes equipment, whether the work was performed in the regular course of the employers business, and the extent to which the employer could exercise control over the details of the work.
The Nature of Work Test:
When applying the ‘Nature of Work Test’ the court looks at whether the work the worker was hired to do is a well-defined activity which is ancillary to the central concern of the business or whether the delegated task is in fact the basic employment activity. For example in one Arizona case a cab driver was determined to be an employee even though the cab company tried to portray him as otherwise because cab driving was at the core of the cab business. Without cab drivers the company would have no cab services to provide.
If you or someone you know has been injured on the job or is facing a long-term disability condition, call Snow, Carpio & Weekley for a free consultation in any of our Arizona offices at 855-325-4781. You may also visit our website at www.workinjuryaz.com